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December 4, 2023

Lagos businessman sues NDLEA over unlawful invasion, intimidation

Lagos businessman sues NDLEA over unlawful invasion, intimidation

A 75-year-old businessman, Taiwo Kayode Alli. and his son, Hamid Alli, have filed a fundamental rights suit against the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, and four others, before a Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, over alleged intimidation, molestation and invasion of their house by the agency.

The Applicants, through their lawyer, Eyitayo Abiodun, are praying to the court for an order restraining the Defendants, either by themselves or acting through their agent, servant or privy, from arresting, intimidating or molesting the applicants, pending the determination of the application.

Listed as Respondents in the suit are, the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA; Head, NDLEA Lagos Zonal Command, Lagos State, Adetula Oluwarotimi Lawal (NDLEA Bariga Outpost), and NDLEA Personnel, Adekunle Edward.

The applicant made the prayers in a Fundamental Rights Enforcement suit marked FHC/L/CS/2017/23 before Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa.

Specifically, the applicants are praying for an Interim Order restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Respondents either by themselves or acting through their agent, servant or privy from arresting, intimidating or molesting them pending the determination of the application.

 In a 16-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Kayode Alli (1st Applicant), he stated that on June 6, 2023, his son (2nd applicant) drove his friend who came back from the United States of America to the airport to catch her flight, and on getting home at about 5.30 am, he realized that the gate of his father’s house were he resides had been thrown open after the lock was broken.

He also discovered that his brother’s car, which was parked in the compound, had disappeared, and he immediately reported the matter at the Anthony Police Station.

He stated that the Nigerian Police after, tracking the car an hour before the incident, discovered that it was parked outside the NDLEA Outpost office in Gbagada, Lagos.

According to him, the 2nd Applicant with the Police officer went to the NDLEA Gbagada Outpost Office, where they were told that the car was flagged down in Ikeja and the occupant refused to park, fled and abandoned the car whereas the car was parked in the house.

He stated that the NDLEA personnel also informed the Police that, a substance suspected to be an illicit drug was found inside the car, and that was the basis of towing the car.

He stated that a few hours after his son left for work that same morning he was informed that officers from the NDLEA Gbagada outpost had come back again to pack all the belongings in the house and also broke into the apartment upstairs which belonged to his brother who leaves abroad.

He added that as a follow-up, NDLEA officials visited the 1st applicant’s place of work and residence of over 30 years and demanded for code to the safe in the office and that he called his son who released the code to them without hesitation.

 He added that after opening the safe all the contents were removed including his son’s international passport, identity card, land documents and other documents belonging to his other children.

The deponent added that when his lawyer visited the NDLEA office he was allegedly told that all the documents would be returned upon payment of N5.5 million which was allegedly paid under duress.

Consequently, the Applicants are seeking amongst other reliefs, a declaration that the incessant invitation, threat of arrest, interrogation, harassment, intimidation and planned detention of the applicant, on the subject matter by the 1st to 4th Respondents to forcefully make the applicants admit that the product found in my house which are things being used for butchery business and cool room compressor are illicit substance, is not only oppressive, illegal and a flagrant breach of the Applicant’s Constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The Applicants are also praying to the court for an award of N50 million as damages against the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Respondents for the alleged unlawful and needless breach of their right to private life, liberty, and dignity.  Justice Allagoa has fixed the hearing of the Application till December 4, 2023.